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Red Light District

City council agreed to give ACS $13 million to install and operate red-light cameras. ACS--ya know, the company being investigated by the feds. Kinda like City Hall, come to think of it.

Saw this morning that the city council yesterday OK'd a deal to give Affiliated Computer Services $13.29 million bucks over five years for some red-light cameras. Also noticed that it did so by ignoring the recommendations made by the council's public safety committee, which is chaired by Steve Salazar and co-chaired by Ron Natinsky. Seems city staff wanted to go with Scottsdale, Arizona's American Traffic Solutions, which submitted a bid half a million under ACS'. So why did the city go with ACS? Well, says Ed Oakley, ACS is local and "that, if anything, should carry merit."

No matter that ATS was thoroughly scrutinized by staff and the committee; never mind Salazar's assertion that ATS' cameras are better than ACS. And never mind the fact that ACS is being investigated by the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission for backdating stock option grants to top execs to the tune of several millions. Really. Never you mind that. Didn't even come up.

Funny thing: On the same day the paper announces the city's deal with ACS, the company announces it ain't gonna be able to file its annual financial report with the SEC on time because, ya know, there's that pesky goverment investigation getting in the way, as well as an internal one (which, we mentioned a few weeks ago, smells of a tremendous conflict of interest). And while the company hopes to get its paperwork to the SEC by month's end, there's a good chance that won't happen, which means it would be violating its credit deals with its lendors, for which the company's seeking a waiver. If I had any business acumen at all, I would say that doesn't sound good. But it's getting $13 mil from the city, so ACS has that going for it, which is nice. --Robert Wilonsky

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